Swimming like fish

photoWe started swimming lessons on Saturday, and they both loved them!  We weren’t sure what to expect since neither one of them had been in a body of water bigger than a bathtub (and just recently moved up to that).  I had packed two separate bags thinking we would each take one into our respective locker rooms, but when we arrived at the Midtown Y, they said we could go into the “family locker room.”  We got to get ready in our own little room with a private shower (guess things have changed since I took lessons 25 years ago!).  Sophia wasn’t so thrilled with the cold water shower her Papa brought her into, but Zoe was okay once we warmed the water up a little.  They both wanted to get right into the pool, before our teacher even got there.  The class was really fun; we worked on pre-swimming skills, played with toys, slid down a little water slide, sang songs, etc.  I have to say Sophia was the best kicker in the whole class (I think it was because John kept saying “stomp your feet,” and she’d kick like crazy).  Zoe was a trooper; she didn’t even cry when I accidentally briefly dunked her.  The teacher had us teach them a cue to use when it is okay for them to jump into the pool, so we adopted her “Humpty Dumpty” phrase, and the girls had fun falling off of the pool wall into our arms.  With this one whole lesson behind them, they are all set for their friend Annaleise’s pool party/birthday party on Tuesday.

We significantly violated John’s longstanding rule of “one thing per day” on Saturday, but since it was the longest day of the year, it couldn’t be helped and went really well. We started at the Farmer’s Market before lessons, and Zoe got to try a yummy crepe (and Sophia got to get touched by a random vendor who figured out that we had a friend in common).  After lessons, we went straight home for lunch and naps.  I thought by putting Zoe down by 11:30 there would be no problem in having her ready for a 2:00 puppet show w/ Siobhàn and Aisling, but she slept for 3 hours! (guess Cousin Kelly was right that those swimming lessons really help them sleep!)  So, their buddies came to visit them briefly after the show, and then we headed out to a little 2- year-old birthday party for one of Sophia’s school friends.  They had fun exploring a new park, and Zoe got to try her first bites of cake and icing.  I had thought Sophia was going to crash quickly for bed, but after I laid her down in her bed, I felt these chubby little fingers tickling my leg, and wasn’t so sure any more…

Father’s Day was much more mellow.  Zoe apparently wanted to be the first to wish him a Happy Fathers’ Day (or else she really took to heart that it was the shortest night of the year).  She was up at 5 AM standing in her Pack ‘N Play growling at us.  (She hasn’t growled in months, so I don’t know where that come from).  Once her sister got up, they tried to make him a card (in fact they both simultaneously wanted to sit in high chairs for no particular reason), so I decided we should try out some art.  Well, as I’m sure you guessed, it works much better to have each of them work on the project independently.  When it is a team deal, one is pulling or wrinkling while the other is eating the crayon or licking the dot painter, and their faces have more art on them than Papa’s card.  In the end, they were each able to “pat, pat, pat” a representative sticker on the paper while I wrote.  Sophia got to ride with Papa to get bagels during Zoe’s nap, and we all went to (quick) lunch together.

People keep telling us that we must be so busy with these two little ones, and I keep thinking it is busy at any stage, but I do think my 24 first graders were easier to manage than my two daughters!  I try to bathe them together, and Zoe is either trying to pull out the drain stopper or pull out the toilet brush, drink the bath water, or climb up the back of the tub (which always makes her fall) while Sophia is trying to dump water out of the tub (or on her sister’s head).  Rarely do they agree on the right time to finish the bath.  Luckily, I haven’t had to wrestle with a wet baby, yet…  One day I was trying to get Zoe’s lunch ready in the kitchen with both of them “helping,” and  I noticed that Zoe bit through the bag of brown sugar she was playing with, so I was moving the rescued part to another container and looked down to see that Sophia wasn’t all that engaged in her book after all, but had pulled out her MIC-KEY button.  I went to rinse it off and get the syringes I needed to reinsert it, while she takes off dripping food out of her stomach, all the while Zoe is getting more and more anxious that her lunch isn’t ready yet…  It will be nice when they are more independent, but then we’ll have behaviors to deal with, too.

We really aren’t immune from behaviors even now.  Sophia continues to be really aggressive to Zoe, and will push her down and pull her hair if you turn your back.  She scratched her and drew blood today and then bit her on the elbow when I thought she was just cutely peeking around her to get her face into the same mirror.  We will have to start thinking more about behavior modification.  I realized that after I took Zoe out of the ball pit because she was bawling from the bite, that Sophia got exactly what she wanted:  the ball pit to herself.  So, next time, she’ll have to come out, too (although, I hope there isn’t a next time).  In general, it is hard to figure out what triggers these behaviors, because for the most part she is sweet to her sister and kisses her and plays with her.  I think there is some jealousy, but it comes out at strange times.  Zoe, on the other hand, was closely watching a little toddler having  a tantrum at the park the other day, and I’m afraid that’s coming sooner than we’d like…

Sophia continues to walk more and more.  She walked halfway down our block by herself one day; I guess Siobhàn was practically jumping up and down, she was so proud of her.  Today, when I was walking with Zoe and the hula hoop, Sophia followed us around on her own.  She laughs while she does it; I think she is really proud of herself.  Zoe is up to about 4 or 5 steps on occasion.  Her main focus seems to be climbing (today, she wanted to get up into a dining room chair so she could climb on to the table; ugh!)

They have expanded their imitation to noises we would really rather they didn’t imitate.  Sophia was trying to copy John’s sneezes while I was putting her down for bed tonight, and Zoe was trying to imitate his burp when he had her in the Bjorn the other night.  Zoe has learned to sign “cat,” which is good because she is always pointing cats out in her books (we need to get her over to visit a friend with real cats).  She woke up in a really good mood this morning and all day politely asked for “more” when she was eating without yelling and pointing.  I think my favorite thing that Sophia does is still her eye closing; she scrunches her eyes up so funny when you ask her to “close her eyes.”  She likes to roll her eyes and make funny expressions.  Today she was using her foot to move her eyelid and make goofy faces!

Sophia continues to be completely attached to her Papa.  She gets upset if she hears him upstairs, and he doesn’t come down right away.  She doesn’t like him to leave and wants his attention at all times.  It is rubbing off on her sister, too, who joins her at the gate to the stairs, shaking it to get his attention.  One morning, he had both of them and Mukwa just cheering for him to come down the stairs, while he says:  “Ladies, Ladies…”

Zoe continues to be attached to her “Little People.”  Twice this week we found her sitting inside her little wooden doll house (John asked her if she was getting her own apartment already).  Hopefully, she’ll tolerate us for a little bit longer yet.


  1. Cousin kelly says:

    Don’t you love swimming lessons!! I love watching the kids and of course, the bonus of sleeping well!!!